Free Trade Fact of the Day

Conn Carroll /

In the latest City Journal, Guy Sorman examines how the acceptance of fundamental economic principles, like free trade, has helped the entire world:

Free trade not only generates the greatest possible growth; it tends to distribute it widely, both within nations and among them. For evidence, consider the emergence of vast middle classes in all free-market societies, as well as the economic convergence among nations that have embraced capitalist economics. After less than 20 years of market-driven growth, Brazil, China, and India—whatever their injustices—are closer to the Western level of development than they were before that growth got under way.

This does not mean, as some observers fret or gleefully predict, that the United States is about to stop leading the world economically. Other nations may draw closer to it—Western Europe in 1950 had a per-capita income half that of the U.S.; now it’s 80 percent—but the American economy has remained the world’s most vigorous for more than a century because of its superior efficiency, demographic dynamism, and innovation (today, for example, the U.S. is the world leader in the hugely promising fields of nanotechnology and biotechnology). One might add that no globalization, with all its economic benefits, could take place without a global security framework to protect shipping from piracy and to contain border conflicts. Today the U.S. military provides that security, just as the British navy once did.